Beginners’ English: useful sounds

20th May 2020

These blogs are for students who have started to learn English.

Today some sounds:

…en

and the letter ‘G’

pen

men

ten

Who', 'What', 'When'… Interrogative Words Rated — The Wheeler Centre

G

goldfish

gold

glasses // goat

goal !

Practice:

I have a pen

You have a pen

He has a pen

She has a pen

John has a pen

Anne has a pen

We have a pen

You (plural) have a pen

They have have a pen

Now … with an adjective: a gold pen

I have a gold pen

You have a gold pen

He has a …

She has a …

John has a …

Anne has a …

We have a …

You (plural) have a …

They have a …

Goodbye

CREAM - Goodbye (remastered) - Amazon.com Music

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Grammar Review

20th May 2020

I usually start a class with a review or warm up exercise, so here’s a selection of short activities.

English School EC London - English Courses for all Ages

Subject:

Adverbs (frequency & probability)

For / since / ago / already

Past Perfect & Past Perfect Continuous

Phrasal verbs

Re-writing sentences

Quick-fire corrections

Verbs into nouns

Vocabulary booster

Adverbs

Notice how a native speaker will alter the sound of the adverb, from a high ‘always’ to a deep ‘never’.

Encourage the construction of sentences with this exercise

always

usually / often

sometimes

rarely

never

Subject + adverb + verb + object …. when ?

I always drink coffee … in the morning

I usually read books … after work

I sometimes go swimming … in the afternoon

I rarely study Vietnamese … ever

I never play music … late at night (OK, maybe sometimes)

NOW … Your turn

Have students work in pairs, making their own sentences. Weaker students can copy the examples, but stronger ones are expected to introduce different vocabulary.

Listen out for the final -s sound, notably in sometimes

Similarly, introduce adverbs of probability

definitely

probably

possibly

unlikely

definitely not !

It will definitely rain soon

He will probably be late tonight

I will possibly go shopping after class

It’s unlikely that he will play for Barcelona, ever OR He is unlikely to play for Barcelona, ever.

I will never go back to that terrible restaurant.

Past perfect simple

Past <____X________X__________Present_________>Future

Something happened before another action BOTH in the past

Sub + had + past participle : I had seen the film before I read the book

She had finished the test before I was even half way through it !

Had you visited the museum before Jane arrived ?

BUT there is a time gap

past perfect continuous

something was happening when another thing started

Sub + had + been + verbing // I had been playing games when he called

How do you Find the Best Video Games for your Child to Play
I was playing games AND THEN the phone rang.

You had been laughing until she stopped you.

No laughing matter: Critics and audiences debate whether Joker and ...

Had you been waiting long when she emailed you ?

Waiting for an Email from Recruiters? Read This | Blog | TalentWorld

NOW … Your turn

Write sentences using the past perfect continuous for these photos:

Kids crash their parent's teleconference call - YouTube

Man on Skype … then his daughter walks in

SEAGULL ATTACK: Fury as angry seagull targets man because he's ...

Just looking at the church … then a bird attacked

for / since / ago / already

I have lived in HCM … 4 years // She has been here … 2014

We came here 7 hours … // They have … seen the film

Students – make four sentences, using the four words

Quick fire corrections

Maths is / are very exciting and beautiful. History is / are fascinating

There is not many / much space in my car. Mr James has much / many fb friends

Can you buy a few / some milk  and a few / some oranges ?

Rewriting sentences

Tony started in 2010. will By 2025, Tony will have been working here for 15 years.

Pam went to Japan and is returning in June. the It’s the second time that Pam’s been to Japan

I woke at 10am and have worked all day. will

By 6 pm, I …………………. for 8 hours

Julie has never seen Star Wars before.   the

It’s ………………… she’s seen Star Wars

Verbs into nouns

Assist / reside / help / inspire / exhaust / attract / repute / inhabit / enthusiastic 

One verb doesn’t change its form

Phrasal Verbs

Call in sick   //  call off // call back //   call out // calm down // take under consideration //     bottle up

Live up to //  look down on //  move out // move on up //   settle in // settle down // settle up //  start off

Students – use as many of these phrasal verbs as you can.

Alternately, hold a contest. Put class into teams. Give them a minute or two to do the activity.

Vocabulary booster

Students confused over Japanese school banning ponytails for ...
Is she about to fly soon ?

Anxiety   // eagerness  // enthusiasm // fear  // joy // optimism

The students are sure they will pass. There is a lot of …………

Flying can cause ……….

Horror films use people’s love of …..  to entertain

Can you remember the ……………… we had for collecting comics ?

Character or personality ?

Are they real people or characters in a film or book ?

Brad Pitt / Iron Man / Hamlet / Donald Trump / Ronaldo / James Bond

What Happens When an Assignment Is Unclear? | The Teaching Professor

Vietnamese party food

19th May 2020

Here’s another request blog; a friend, Pete (who has featured in some of my lessons) is planning a party this Friday. His daughter, who is turning 18, has requested some Vietnamese food.

My friend Pete: musician, online DJ and all round diamond geezer

However, Pete lives in the UK, which is still under lockdown (quarantine), so many restaurants are closed. Furthermore, he lives in the middle of the country, so had no access to really fresh sea food (the Vietnamese only say sea food is fresh IF it was swimming in the sea just ten minutes before).

Additionally, Pete won’t be able to get his hands on some vegetables or ingredients so we’ll have to take that into account. Having said that, here are some tips for making Vietnamese food in a western kitchen.

Beginners Guide to Vietnamese Cooking: 8 Glorious Recipes - YouTube

Banh xeo is like a pancake filled with beansprouts, shrimps, salad, grilled meat …

Grilled pork is ubiquitous – a street food stable served with rice and pickled vegetables.

Fried spring or summer rolls – can be a bit fiddly (difficult) to make, and require special material. Probably available in Asian supermarkets, but hard to get in small towns (or just order online like everyone else in 2020). Contains salad leaves and shrimp and vegetables).

Pho (pronounced ‘far’) is THE traditional food of Vietnam, and is normally eaten for breakfast. It’s basically noodle soup with meat of your choice. Shrimps (prawns) or just vegetables could be substituted. Another ubiquitous dish.

HA NOI

The best Vietnamese pho soup, pho Hanoi or pho Saigon?
If the locals are queuing for the food, if must be good and reasonably priced.

Sai Gon

Pho Ha, Saigon - review by Rusty Compass
Typical street scene in Ho Chi Minh City

And now, without further ado … how to cook Vietnamese:

First, one of the UK’s most loved, and sadly missed chefs, Keith Floyd. Keith came to Vietnam as part of an east Asian cooking show. In Sai Gon, he made this dish, beef cooked in sweet and spicy stock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8

The scene starts at 06.39

But, I hear you protest, how can a westerner make authentic Vietnamese food ?

Ok, so now let’s have pho bo (beef noodle soup) made by a Vietnamese lady: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCaGOQLpTt0

For fans of the fowl, connoisseurs of the chicken, I haven’t forgotten you. Here’s an interesting recipe, lemongrass chicken (lemongrass, which is ten-a-penny in Vietnam, that is, very cheap, can be so expensive in the UK. I once saw 5 lemongrass on sale for £1, that’s over 30 000 VND): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJtMlTnqyw0

Seonkyoung Longest - Asian at Home - Authentic Asian Recipes by ...
Eating and etiquette: Top tips for joining a VN family meal - Life ...
Time to party
Hanoi Food Guide - The Best Hanoi Restaurants and Cafes ...
Goodbye from Viet Nam

Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Let’s go to San Francisco … or Boston … or Chicago.

18th May 2020

In our last blog lesson, we focused on what we needed to do BEFORE travelling to the States, all the boring logistics and organising, booking and planning. Now … we are all set. All we have to do is select which city to visit.

Which of these destinations are most appealing to you and why ?

Boston

Amazon.com: Lantern Press Boston, Massachusetts - Acorn Street in ...

Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and gateway to New England. One of America’s oldest cities, it’s steeped in history – brimming with cobblestone streets and significant heritage sites – as well as gleaming skyscrapers.

Unlike many other US cities, it’s best explored on foot. One of the most popular tours is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path that passes 16 important sites, including America’s first state school, the oldest church in Boston, and several markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.

The tour is greatly enhanced by the costumed guides, who’ll passionately transport you back to the 1700s during the 90-minute walk.

Chicago

4K+) Beautiful Chicago Skyline Skyscrapers Day to Night Aerial ...

Chicago, my kind of town! A unique city with a character all of its own, Chicago offers a wide variety of shopping, dining, museums, theatre, music and nightlife options.

Chicago is on Lake Michigan, boasts over 20 miles of beachfront and some of the most dynamic and visually stunning architecture in the world. The city is famous for its skyscrapers such as the Hancock Building and the Willis Tower, which features several glass-bottomed ledges at 1,300ft above the city streets, making it a fantastic photo opportunity for the brave!

North Michigan Avenue is also known as the “Magnificent Mile” as this is where most visitors and residents come to shop, with firm favourites lining the street such as Tiffany, Nike and Nordstrom.

San Francisco

San Francisco indulges the senses with the wonderful array of scenic beauty, arts, museums, bars, restaurants and nightlife. San Francisco is famously known as the “City on the Bay” and its stunning location and undulating surroundings have been taking visitor’s breath away for centuries.

Enjoy fresh seafood and spot playful sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, a fun and family-friendly district of the city; dine on authentic dim sum in the vast Chinatown or join the crowds of shoppers amidst the bustle and cable cars of Union Square.

No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to the infamous prison at Alcatraz island. Rent a bicycle and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito for a scenic day out and fantastic photo opportunities; brave Lombard Street, the “crookedest street in the world” or bring many movie favourites to life as you stroll the city streets.

San Francisco is the perfect destination for exploring and creating new memories in, with world-class sports, dining and adventure. 

Video

Before you watch this video, what do you know about San Francisco ?

Which of the sights mentioned in the guide do you see ?

What really struck you (impressed) about San Francisco ?

What was intriguing (interesting, fascinating) ?

What did you make of (think of) the architecture ?

Did you see any mouth-watering (delicious) food ?

What adjectives would you use to describe San Francisco ? 

GRAMMAR

Make your comments stronger, and increase your English, by adding adverbs. 

unbelievably // incredibly // extremely // undeniably // amazingly //

quite // rather // somewhat //

Example: The house was old – the house was extremely old.

San Francisco is …

The food in San francisco is …

Riding cable cars must be …

Remember, if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

J. B. Phillips Quotes | QuoteHD
YAROK Hair Care - . Be sure to wear some flowers in your... | Facebook

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: USA … sun, surf & sand.

18th May 2020

Holidays Stateside

Surfin' USA! On the trail of the Beach Boys in the sun-kissed ...
The Beach Boys exemplified the American dream of fun, fun, fun !

You are going to the USA. How will you prepare ?

Before you go 

What do you need to do ? Use the following words to build long sentences with linking words (also, as well as) and adverbs (extremely, absolutely, quite):

research // compare // vaccination // insurance // thermal underwear // sunblock // visa // traveller’s cheques // adapter // currency // medication reservation route // travel books (fiction and/or guides)

EXAMPLE: Before I book my ticket, I will need to research flight prices online as some airlines charge considerable more than others.

Look at this website:

http://www.gapyeartravelstore.com/blog/top-20-travel-gift-ideas-2016/

30 Inspiring Gap Year Travel Ideas
Meeting the locals is part of the travel experience

[A ‘gap – year’ is when young people travel before, or during, their university studies. It creates a gap – a space – between school and university or between the three or four years of study.]

Make a short presentation – what do you think of the items ? 

Which do you consider to be:

essential / useful / unnecessary / a waste of space ! / totally useless

You are allowed to choose five items – which would you choose and why ?

GRAMMAR

‘Have to’ and ‘must’

When packing, which items do you HAVE TO bring ? Which items MUST you bring ?

Remember: have to = requirement // must = personal choice

EXAMPLE: to travel, I have to bring my passport and I must buy some shampoo.

Travelling to USA

Usa Tourism Map - Tourism Company and Tourism Information Center

Make a list. Be sure to include paperwork, important personal items and non-essential personal items.

I have to bring // I must bring

At passport control

You will hear questions like these. Write them down. Practise asking and answering: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=RFV0hZpmmr4&index=1&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM

However, where to go ?

The USA is enormous, stretching from the sun-kissed Hawaiian Islands to the bitter winters of New England.

Tahitian woman making the traditional welcome gesture. Polynesian ...
Aloha from Hawaii
5 Winter Activities in Portland Maine That Will Get You in the ...
Winter in Maine

In the next blog, we’ll focus on three cities: Boston, Chicago & San Francisco … what do you know about them ?

Have a good day 🙂

I miss you already

Always See You Later Never Goodbye SVG, JPEG, High Definition, DXF ...

Cheerful young female african american college student waving ...

Live Theatre from Berlin

17th May 2020

I’m lucky to have some very talented, very creative friends, and last night, far away in Berlin, Germany, there was a live-stream of a theatre piece, free to watch on YouTube.

The title translates to ‘The Berlin Room’, and the theme, inspired by the world-wide lockdown, is isolation.

Herr Harald Ansorge (German) wrote and directed, M Johan Robin (French) was Director of Photography, while the sound technician was Herr Michael ‘Gabel’ Gabelmann.

The actors were Frau Masha Mati-Prodan and Mr Martin O’Shea, so this was a pan-European project.

The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5D38yzZPU

As the video is a live stream, there is a long run-in, so fast forward to around 14.15.

I’m sure the cast and crew would appreciate any comments, especially nice ones !

Promotional writing on a Berlin overpass.

Promotion shot of Mr Martin O’Shea

From left to right, Johan Robin, Michael Gabelmann, Harald Ansorge

Musicians we have recently lost

16th May 2020

Recently we have seen the passing of a number of musicians, some directly or indirectly as a result of COVID-19. This is a short tribute to those artists.

R.I.P.

Bill Withers (July 4th 1938 – March 30th 2020)

Remembering Bill Withers With 5 Great Live Performances | Pitchfork

Bill was a singer – songwriter, famous for such hits in the early 70s as ‘Lovely Day,’ ‘Lean on Me,’ and one of my all time favourites, ‘Ain’t no Sunshine.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CICIOJqEb5c

Lee Konitz (October 13th 1927 – April 15th 2020)

Jazz innovator Lee Konitz has died of Covid-19 at age 92 – The ...

Lee was a composer working in the Jazz field, and played alto saxophone. Famously, Lee played on ‘Birth of the Cool’ by Miles Davies in 1949, as well as on the ‘Miles Ahead’ album of 1957. In addition, Lee made dozens of albums as leader, playing alongside Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams & Jimmy Giuffre … to name just three.

If you wish to hear him, I’d recommend this live LP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpb-gh5-Dqs

Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers (March 29th 1949 – May 3rd 2020)

The Stranglers' keyboard player Dave Greenfield dies after testing ...

Dave was the keyboardist in the English punk band The Stranglers, whom he joined in 1975 and played with until his death. His playing can be heard on their biggest hit, ‘Golden Brown’ which reached number 2 in the charts in 1982: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-GUjA67mdc

Little Richard ( December 5th 1932 – May 9th 2020)

Little Richard, piano-pounding music icon, dies at 87

Richard Wayne Pennieman was one of the original rock ‘n’ rollers, and was a true original in his performances, his clothes and his stage presence. Little Richard is even credited with advising the Beatles, especially Paul McCartney, how to sing. This is one of his most iconic songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj059o9OwqY

Thank you all for everything.

We will miss you but never forget you xo

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: collocation writing.

16th May 2020

Writing exercise 

At the end of the previous blog, there were some everyday collocations that moved away from the basic verb + phrase format (e.g. take a break / make sure / get away with murder).

To help them sink in (make you remember), here a chance for you to practise using them.

Working from home because of COVID-19? Here are 10 ways to spend ...

Rewrite the following business email to your senior manager in France, using the following collocations for the bold sections:

Adequate supplies to meet demand 

Revised edition

Cause insurmountable difficulties 

Major turning point

Set realistic aims

Dear M Delarue

I have some good news from the HCM office which I think represents a change in the company and how we do things and what we can expect to do in the future.

We have stopped using the old business model because when we tried, it made many, many problems that we were unable to solve, no matter how hard we tried. Now we are seeing real and tangible progress.

Our main concern now is to make sure we have enough products to fill all the orders for all of our customers. We need to plan ahead; as Marketing Director, I am on the look out for new markets to break into.

Two areas spring to mind:China and India. It is our intention that we become market-leader in those territories but we must not wish for too much too soon as there are many factors that stand in our way, such as infrastructure and logistics.

Finally, could you please send us the newest, latest copy of the company handbook, as our one in five years old and is out of date and does not have the latest facts and figures.

Sincerely

Mr / Mrs / Ms / Dr …

Make a French man happy by your brilliant English

PsBattle: A happy Frenchman and a dismayed British woman ...

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: More collocations

16th May 2020

Collocations

How to Get Away with Murder – Wikipedia tiếng Việt

First lesson as a writer – make sure you grab the reader’s attention.

As previously mentioned in my first post about collocations – link here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/18/adult-speaking-class-level-2-collocations/

these are a great way to build up your English skills; not only will you learn new phrases, but you will also develop linking skills in speech and thereby acquire a more natural speech pattern.

Yes, I know it takes time and a lot of practice … but it’ll be worth it.

The previous post focused on the verb ‘make’. Today, we’ll turn our attention to the verb:

Take

Lời bài hát Take It Easy - Hồ Quỳnh Hương

Do you know these collocations ?

turns speaking // it up with the manager // up my trousers a little //

a good look at yourself // a hike ! // medicine // a deep breathe 

Which would you use for:

1 You have a complaint at work.

2 You buy some clothes but they are too big.

3 You want to tell someone to go away !

4 try to be calm and relax.

Moving on, some everyday collocations

What do these collocations suggest ?

Widely available // routine check-up

disperse the crowd // boost employment 

catch up with the news // catch up with friends

Which would you use for:

1 We hope the new factory will …

2 Police were called to … because there were too many people.

3. I’m going to my old university and …

4. Let me watch BBC and CNN, I need to …

Street food in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Saigon Food Tours
fresh fruit and vegetables are widely available in Sai Gon and Vietnam

Find longer definitions for these collocations.

Adequate supplies to meet demand 

Revised edition

Cause insurmountable difficulties 

Major turning point

Set realistic aims

1) Enough things so that everyone that wants one can have one

2) Know what you want to do but it must not be too much for you to be able to do it.

3) Make problems which people will not be able to solve or cause problems that people are not able to work properly.

4) A very important moment when things changed completely

5) A new book, similar to the old one but with more up-to-date information, or mistakes have been corrected.

The Apple Store Is No Longer Called A Store Anymore, It's Just Apple
New iPhone on sale at the Apple Store … but will there will adequate supplies ?

Seahorse Productions: Steppenwolf, Berlin 2014

15th May 2020

Historic photos of City Life of Berlin during the interwar period ...

This film, finished in 2014, was shot in 2008 while I was living in Berlin and I attempted to give it a 1920s feel. It’s based on the famous novel by Hermann Hesse:

Quote HERMANN HESSE – MAGGIE EXPLAINS THE WORLD

The novel, which was published in 1927, is a book within a book … a young man finds a diary written by an older man and it is this diary which forms the bulk of the story. As readers, we are free to choose how much to believe of the ‘diary’; is it all true, all fiction, a combination of truth, half-truths and wishes ?

The book certainly has a surreal quality to it, moving from realistic descriptions to a final sequence which seems to resemble a dream or fantasy.

The main character, Harry Haller, refers to himself as a steppenwolf, that is someone who craves human companionship yet is painfully introverted and uncomfortable around people. This dichotomy is central to the book.

Steppenwolf' Hermann Hesse | Cover: Detail of a painting by… | Flickr
A paperback edition of the novel

For the film, I choose areas of Berlin that were more historic and evocative of the 1920s, as well as selecting some ‘modern’ classical composers who were contemporaneous (Martinu from Czech Republic, Hindemith from Germany), along with W.F. Bach (who is mentioned in the book). The film plays out with a melancholy solo guitar piece by the incredible gypsy-guitarist Django Rheinhardt.

I also used colour filters towards the end of the film, as in some silent classics, indicating that the sequences may or may not be ‘real’ … it is up to the viewer to decide.

The film style was heavily influenced by German expressionist cinema of the inter-war years, directors such as Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst and mostly F.W. Murnau.

Mr Molnar Levente, a Hungarian actor, was in the highly successful ‘Son of Saul’ film, while Mr Martin O’Shea has appeared with Kenneth Branagh and Bill Nighy in the Tom Cruise film ‘Valkarie’.

Ms Willow de la Roche gave, I feel, an amazing performance. I’m so sorry it took so long for the film to finally be cut.

Technical details: I shot the film entirely on Super 8, then had to transfer onto a compatible disk for cutting on a Windows-based laptop. At the time I was moving between Berlin, London and Sweden and furthermore, I had to learn computer editing from scratch.

And now:

LIGHTS

CAMERAS

ACTION

The link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaPT0X-J2EY